During the four days my family and I spent in Adelaide, we saw a
bounty of birds, most of which I had never seen before; at least in
the wild. To begin with, here's a lucky shot of one of the continent's
most well known creatures, the Laughing Kookaburra. On many
occasions I heard their raucous calls but I only saw the bird itself
once. It is one of the largest kingfishers in the world, tying in with
Africa's Giant Kingfisher.
It doesn't 'fish' though; the kookaburra's diet consists mainly of
lizards, small rodents and even snakes. The most common bird in
Adelaide was probably the telenocula subspecies of the pied
Australian Magpie. These beautiful crows were everywhere, from
outside our hotel to the countrysides. Their most remarkable feature
was their song; a combination of metallic clinks, melodic gurgles and
warbles. Good thing we didn't visit in Spring though, for they are
known the swoop at people who unknowingly wander near their nests.
Magpie Larks looked rather like whiter miniature magpies but they
are not at all related. This is a male and his two fledglings.
Another frequent sight was the lovely looking Crested Pigeon. They
were often accompanied by the introduced spotted doves which are
native in Singapore. The crested pigeon is one of the two species of
the family to sport a quirky upright crest, the other being the smaller
Spinifex Pigeon, a resident of the more arid parts of the continent.
My trip to Australia would have been incomplete without seeing the
regions most diverse group of birds - the Honeyeaters. A familiar
sound in Adelaide was the penetrating squeaks of the aptly named
Noisy Miner. They were very sociable birds, often seen together
in large groups. I mostly saw them flying in and out of flowering
trees, sometimes descending to the ground to forage too.
This one really had me excited - seeing my first gull, in the heart
of the city! The Silver Gull is the most common gull in Australia, most
likely because it is a successful scavenger. We also saw them in their
more natural habitat - by the coast at Cape Jervis. I love the contrast
of the red legs and beak against the clean white body.
The gulls weren't the only 'pests' whose presence was more than
welcome to me. I was thrilled to finally hear sweet the song of the
Common Blackbird. I spotted them on a few occasions in the woods.
They were not so easy to see though; I had to strain my neck for
quite some time, looking up into the trees, before managing to
locate the origin of the song.
In the Mount Lofty Ranges by the Adelaide Hills, I heard the calls
of the Little Raven rather frequently. Whenever they made their
throaty 'ark's, they would loosely flick both wings upwards.
This charming little Brown Treecreeper appeared briefly in front of
me at the summit of Mount Lofty, gliding to the bottom of each tree
then working its way up, foraging for insects. It's a pity that my only
record of it has the bird facing away.
Water birds were often seen around the lakes in the Botanic Gardens
as well as in the beautiful suburbs. The most common of them was
the Australian Wood Duck. I saw them in sizable congregations, one
group being at least fifty-birds-big.
Now, absolutely no post on Australian birds could go without
featuring the most colourful and well known members of the avian
world, the parrots. It was amazing to see these birds flying swiftly
from tree to tree, screeching away. In Singapore there are a few
of native parrots but the species I saw in Adelaide were completely
different. The Eastern Rosella was a spectacular sight. I only saw
them a handful of times and this picture was taken when one flew
to the ground to forage.
While in Mount Lofty, I mostly encountered Adelaide Rosellas, the
South Australian form of the beautiful Crimson Rosella. I found this
odd bird amongst them and until just half an hour ago I was clueless
about its identity. Here's the fact that gave it away: the blue cheeked
rosellas have juveniles that are largely green. This fellow turned out
to be just another immature Adelaide Rosella.
As a finale, I present the gaudiest of the gaudy, the Rainbow
Lorikeet. There couldn't be a better name to describe this
stunning species. They were quite often seen but had my blood
pumping every time one showed up. Surprisingly, they became
difficult to spot once they landed in a tree. Most of my sightings
of them were streaks of electric green flying past. However I
did manage to get up close with one on a lucky occasion.
Last but not least, a Rainbow Lorry drinking from the snake's mouth.
That's all for my Adelaide bird pictures. Next week I'll share the birds
I saw in the beautiful and unspoilt Kangaroo Island, which includes
the one that I told myself I wouldn't leave Australia without seeing.